When we were kids we often camped, fished and traveled during vacations in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Ontario Canada (north of Sault Ste Marie). Waterfalls, the Soo Locks, the Log Slide, the Marquette Ore Docks, the Pictured Rocks and many other destinations were part of our childhood.
During these trips we often saw yellow signs warning "Watch for Falling Rock." When asked (repeatedly, I might add) our father told us this story...
"Many, many years ago there was a young Indian woman who had a son named Falling Rock. One day he became lost and did not return home. His mother searched for the rest of her life throughout the lands we now know as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northern Ontario. As she searched, she occasionally wrote on the rock faces 'watch for Falling Rock' so that others would keep an eye out for her son. Unfortunately, she never did find him. Centuries later, when roads were built through the same areas that this Indian woman traveled and wrote her plea for her son, the builders placed her words on yellow signs as a way to honor her devotion. That is why we now have signs throughout the United States and Canada that warn 'Watch for Falling Rock.' "
There are, of course, many variations of this story that have been told throughout the years. This is the one that we believed for far too long. Perhaps it is useful for you to know that our father also accurately counted cows in the field and attributed this ability to a skill he acquired during summer jobs counting livestock during college. When asked years later how he did this, he said "you just count the legs and divide by four!"
Unfortunately, Dad passed away on June 6, 2002, at age 64. During the memorial service I shared a number of stories - including the story of Falling Rock - most of which my children, Amanda (age 12) and Rebecca (age 7) were hearing for the first time. Months later, when we raised the issue of a name for the cafÃ© and bookstore, Amanda immediately said "Lets call it the Falling Rock CafÃ© and Bookstore." And so it is.
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